When conducting research of a specific time and a specific place, it is imperative to understand how the events described fit into a bigger historical picture. By plotting out the local and national historical events that are commonly accepted as fact, a researcher can better understand the context of new evidence as it is uncovered. For example, the circumstances leading up to the settlement of the Marlborough Plantation indicated that the founding fathers were concerned that their home town of Sudbury was becoming overcrowded. These proprietors, seeking open land for their families on which to farm, were motivated by reasons common to most families in the growing colonies at that time.
Another example of greater events being played out on a local level was relationships with neighboring native tribes. The dealings between the early American pioneers and the Indian natives were sensitive and often contentious. In New England during the years before and after King Philip's War (1675-76), conflicts both small and large were common on the Marlborough Plantation. Skirmishes, mediation, raids, and evacuations also occured in all 13 colonies and it is important to our understanding of local history to see how our local ancestors encountered the same.
While not covered in the scope of the current Brigham Street Burial Ground project, local Northborough, MA lore also tells of how a peddler, several months before the heralded Boston Tea Party in 1773, encountered a group of men dressed as Indians who burned his large bag of tea publicly. In this case, the small acts of local men foreshadowed a grander, more notable rebellion and illustrated how the "big" events were a culmination of what was happening on a smaller local scale.
Kent, Josiah Coleman Kent. Northborough History. Newton, Mass.: Garden City Press, 1921.
Beth Finch McCarthy